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This page is to record my comments on the ZDNet C++ Tutorial EK-1777 sample lesson, Overview of Polymorphism.

Initially I thought it was a ~$100 tutorial, but now I'm unsure — as I tried to work my way back up the URL "tree" to find where to buy it or find out more, I got to the ZDNet BizTech Library, which seems to imply I can get access to this and other content for $1 for the first month and $6.95/month thereafter. I'll have to do some more digging (or asking) to confirm that.

Anyway, in general, the sample was very helpful in gaining the beginning of a general / intuitive understanding of polymorphism (or maybe, more accurately, how to achieve polymorphism in C++), but, there were several things I didn't like about the means and format of presentation.

This page is intended to comment on the tutorial presentation, I will probably put notes on the content on another page, possibly with a name including polymorphism.




As stated above, the content of this page seems quite useful, and the fact that I was able to understand / recognize that the content is useful implies that the means of presentation can't be all bad. Nevertheless, I want to record these complaints about the means of presentation:

  • Requires Java or Javascript and Shockwave. Since I don't have Java set up on any of my Linux machines, and IIUC, Shockwave is not available for Linux, the content is probably not accessible in Linux.

  • When I started the tutorial, I had trouble finding how to proceed — I finally found the small "pager" in the upper right corner.

  • When I switch to a new page, the PgUp / PgDn keys do not work until you click with the mouse in the page (for this and other reasons, (i.e., the need to use the mouse), navigating is more aggravating than I'd like — of course, some of the problems are endemic to a browser (and HTML), but the immediate usability of the PgUp / PgDn keys is quite common on other web pages)

  • Summaries, like the "3 Key Syntax Items", are extemely annoying, because (presumably Shockwave) is set up with timers to fade the text in and out again sequentially. I found that very aggravating — because my reading didn't seem to be in sync with their fadein / fadeout schedule, I found myself first rushing to read the text while it was displayed, and because of that failing to absorb what was written, and then almost getting into a nervous/hyper state waiting for the text to reappear and then read and absorb it before having it disappear again. This is probably my biggest complaint.

  • Formatting on most pages used a lot of vertical white space (with single words on some lines and triple spacing between those single words and more explanatory text), which made for a lot of vertical scrolling. Sometimes that presentation seemed very effective and seemed to "talk to my head", but it was overdone — it might have been effective for me on about two pages, it was used on almost all 23 pages.

  • And I guess the 23 pages is really another complaint. Even though I worked through the tutorial on a high speed connection (NCACC), it would have been much nicer to have all the content on one page and then be able to scroll up and down as desired (to re-review previous pages and so forth).

  • The last page had a quiz which seems like a good idea to help reinforce the learning, but it only asked two questions, which sort of leads me to (briefly repeating) my main complaint about electronic tutorials and texts (I know I've covered this elsewhere, the best explanation may be in some of my offline notes):

  • There needs to be a very convenient equivalent of maintaining my own copy of electronic texts and tutorials with my own annotations and highlighting. (When I own a textbook, I can highlight or scribble to my heart's content in the text, and I can lend that to my roommate or anybody else. If I don't own a textbook, I can sit and read it and create my own notes (on paper or electronically, or with a tape recorder) and I can lend those to anybody. Currently my approach to achieving this is to start by copying the complete text into a text editor, and then gradually condense, summarize, and reword in my own words the key points (or the points I think I want to remember). The problem with that is (again, as I have covered elsewhere) that might be very legal to put on WikiLearn for documents that are released under appropriate free or open licenses, but is more of a problem for documents without such a license. I feel that once the condensation / rewording gets beyond a certain point, I don't have too much concern, but certainly, putting the first attempt at such an "annotation" (which is usually a complete verbatim copy of the target text) is probably asking for (copyright infringement) trouble.


  • () RandyKramer - 20 Oct 2003
  • If you edit this page: add your name here; move this to the next line; and if you've used a comment marker (your initials in parenthesis), include it before your WikiName.

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Topic revision: r1 - 2003-10-20 - RandyKramer
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